LP-10 10-watt LPFM Stations (DISCONTINUED)
Updated December 9, 2012.
In the Sixth Report and Order, the FCC has discontinued the LP-10 service citing technical and economic viability issues. We will keep the information on this page for historic purposes.
When the FCC authorized LPFM, they authorized two classes of LPFM stations. LP-100 stations (the ones we currently have on the air today) are stations that can operate up to 100 watts at an antenna height of 30 meters above average terrain. The second service is called LP-10 (also referred to in the initial rulemaking as "microradio"). The intention of the LP-10 service is to provide a lower power radio service that could possibly go into urban areas where LP-100 stations would not be possible or if the organization does not need the coverage of an LP-100 station.
The key rule differences between LP-10 and LP-100
Unfortunately, when the FCC designed the LP-10 service, it became a "sub-secondary" service with pretty much no protection, not even from other LPFM stations! We feel this sub-secondary status was just the FCC giving into "piratephobia". Now that we have had a few years to experience LP-100 stations, we hope that the FCC looks into the LP-10 rules before opening the first LP-10 window.
LP-10 stations are NOT protected from LP-100 stations. - §73.807(a)(1) - This means that under the current rules, if you construct an LP-10 station, you run the risk of losing your station in a later LPFM filing window. We recommend when considering a channel that you look at a channel that you can squeeze in your LP-10 and an LP-100 would not be able to fit. Doing this along with finding a channel that does not receive interference from full power stations will be a real juggling act.
No LP-10 allowed with a HAAT (Height Above Average Terrain) of over 100 meters. - §73.811(b) - Those in mountain communities overlooking valleys may have difficulty setting up LP-10 stations due to this limitation. This rule is in place because the FCC does not license any FM station with a power output of less than one watt. If the station is above 100m HAAT, it will produce a service area of over 3.2km, the legal limit for LP-10.
Minor Amendments. - §73.871(c)(1) - Amendments to change location over 3.2 km will be considered a "major amendment". LP-100 stations are allowed 5.6 km.
Minor Changes. - §73.870(a) - Similar to minor amendments, LP-10 stations are limited to station moves less than 3.2 km to be considered a minor change. LP-100 is 5.6 km. Moves that do not meet these limitations must be filed in a major change window. This is also being proposed to be extended to 3.2km.
LP-10 can be "bumped" by translators - §74.1204 - LP-100 stations are protected from secondary translators on the LP-100's co-channel and first adjacent channel. These protections are not provided to LP-10 stations. It is possible that an LP-10 can be bumped by a translator application.
As you can see, the LP-10 service based on today's rules is a very risky service. Those who are considering an LP-10 station should keep a close watch on your proposed channel during the application process and keep watching it after you are on the air. Have a plan to move to an alternate channel in the event of application activity that makes your current channel unusable. Remember, outside any filing windows, the FCC will allow you to change to any channel if real or predicted interference takes place.
In March 2012, the FCC has proposed the elimination of the LP-10 service and so far, they have not licensed any LP-10 stations. REC Networks opposes this proposal and we feel that the needs of urban audiences would be better served by a "maximized" sub-100 watt service such as our proposed LP-FLEX service.